Moonwalker, America’s Michael Jackson Tribute Band, will perform May 6 at Market Street Festival in downtown Columbus. The show features five-time Los Angeles Rock City Award winning frontman Trace Devai. Photo by: Provided photo
February 11, 2011 2:37:00 PM
Even as snow fell on the Golden Triangle, plans were well underway for the 16th annual Market Street Festival May 6-7. Live music is always a highlight of this huge party that encompasses 12 city blocks and hosts approximately 40,000 visitors in downtown Columbus each spring.
Organizers have announced this year''s headliners for Friday and Saturday night concerts that cover the spectrum from pop to blues.
Make that the King of Pop.
Some of the most memorable music of the past decades will take centerstage Friday, May 6, on Main Street when Moonwalker, America''s Michael Jackson Tribute Band, brings its California show to Northeast Mississippi.
Featuring five-time Los Angeles Rock City Music Award winning frontman Trace Devai, back-up vocalists and musicians, Moonwalker recaptures the music and moves originated by the late singer Guiness Book of World Records recognizes as the most successful entertainer of all times.
"We really want Friday night to be a fun party and dance atmosphere for all ages, and the Michael Jackson tribute band accomplishes just that," said Amber Brislin, executive director of Main Street Columbus. "They are something that everyone will enjoy and can sing and dance along to."
The festival committee anticipates plenty of tie-in activities to ramp up the festive feel of Friday''s ticketed ($10) event. A moonwalk dance contest and costume contest are possibilities, as are local dance groups performing Jackson''s iconic "Thriller" routine. Tickets will soon be available at Main Street Columbus, or can be purchased the night of the show.
Susan Bell is the chair of the 2011 festival, which has been named a Top 20 Event in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society for 13 consecutive years.
"If you''re 5 or 85, you''ve heard the music," she said. "The Moonwalker band is going to be very exciting. It should create a lot of energy."
Blues on the river
The tempo, but not the intensity, will shift for Saturday evening, May 7.
Blues Music Award nominee for the 2011 B.B. King Entertainer of the Year -- James "Super Chikan" Johnson -- will headline a free concert at the Riverwalk, with his female band, the Fighting Cocks.
A popular repeat performer at Morgan Freeman''s Ground Zero in Clarksdale, Johnson is the recipient of the 2010 Blues Music Award for Best Traditional Blues Album and has earned five Living Blues Critics Awards. In 2004, he won the Mississippi Governor''s Award for Excellence in the Arts.
The Mississippi native''s handmade guitars are widely-known. Johnson will conduct workshops during the day May 7, demonstrating his craftsmanship. One of his custom instruments will be raffled off during the festival.
"We hope to also get him in some of the schools May 6 to work with children to expose them to his unique musical style and guitar-making skills," Brislin said.
Making a move
The move to the Riverwalk for the festival''s Saturday night concert marks a change from the festival main stage, as in past years.
"We''re moving to the Riverwalk this year to add a different element to the festival and to highlight more of our downtown and Riverwalk," explained Brislin. "We''re also using the Saturday night concert as one more way to celebrate our festival sponsors, who will receive special recognition and perks during the concert."
Opening acts will be announced at a later date, as will the line-up of musical groups to perform on multiple stages during the day May 7.
Saturday festivities will feature more than 250 arts, crafts and food vendors, a 5K run, the second annual juried arts competition in partnership with the Columbus Arts Council, and many additions and improvements to be announced in upcoming months, Brislin said.
"This year promises to be one of the best yet," she added. "The festival is the largest fundraiser for Main Street Columbus and is essential to our continued downtown revitalization efforts. The generous contributions of time, resources and talents of our neighbors are key to the success of the festival and thus, to our contributions back to our community."
Stay tuned to www.marketstreetfestival.com for regular updates. Visit the site for vendor applications, race and car show applications and other festival information, or contact Main Street Columbus at 662-328-6305.
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Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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